Kissaa Kahaani

July 24, 2014

Yudhishthira- Dharmraj, Really??

Was Yudhishthira really a dharmaraj? Was that title only because he was sired by Yama or Dhrama? I have my own doubts and so do many others.

What is Dharma? The word has been defined in many ways in our holy books- it can mean Justice, Truth, Virtue, Code of Conduct, Character, Manner, Etiquette, Law, Truth and what not! But doesn’t Dharma mean Conscience as well!? Isn’t it about morality too?

Yudhishthira, the so called paragon of righteousness, ignored the calling of his heart and soul and went ahead with what was the “law”. Doesn’t dharma mean doing right, not betraying the conscience, not twisting the truth, taking a stand? Was he really obliged to play the game of dice and lose all he had and also deprive his brothers, mother and wife at the same time? Would abandoning the vile addiction of the game make him a coward as per Kshatriya rule of not backing down under any circumstance? Doesn’t this law of Dharma apply solely to the battlefield? Wasn’t this most pathetic excuse for continuing his weakness of the game? When Krishna admonished the warriors in Kaurava army saying, “Where was your Dharma when Draupadi was being insulted and robbed off her humility in the game of dice”, shouldn’t he have admonished Yudhishthira instead, “Where was your Dharma when you gambled away your wife, making her face the severest trauma a wife can feel?”

Was Yudhishthira really noble and great? Wasn’t he the shrewdest, most opportunistic man ever in the great war of Kurukshetra, wearing the mask of Dharma? And why do I doubt Yudhishthira on the front of Dharma? Let me recount my reasons.

The Lakshagriha- the house made of lac

When Pandavas and Kunti were given the gift of the Lac palace- highly inflammable substance, by Kauravas, and when Vidura apprised the Pandavas of the situation and informed of a secret tunnel he had made sure to be constructed to help Pandavas escape, the Pandavas with the consent of their mother Kunti, gave shelter to 6 Nishads- 5 sons and a widow mother, unbeknownst to Kauravas. The purpose was that when Kauravas would see the charred corpses of the unknown Nihads, they will think of them to be of Pandavas. Was it not murder? Pure cold blooded murder? Why didn’t Yudhishthira spoke up and refused to be a part of the conspiracy? Where was his call of duty when he decided to brutally sacrifice his innocent subjects? Was it about survival? Is survival worth it when it costs others’ lives? Wasn’t survival possible by just escaping and not killing anyone in the process?

The Shared Wedding

When Arjuna won Draupadi’s hands in marriage fair and square and took her home as his legally wedded lawful wife and when Kunti unknowingly told the brothers to divide the “offerings” amongst themselves, Yudhishthira ordered that all brothers would have to abide by the words of his mother and would have to wed Draupadi. Was that right? Was this the Dharma which objectified Draupadi as a plaything for all brothers? Was it Dharma to snatch away Draupadi from her beloved Arjuna? Was it not purely his desire to obtain Draupadi and the only way he could do so was by making sure that Draupadi is shared by all brothers? Does desire become a part of Dharma? If Dharma means to follow the words of elders and superiors, doesn’t Dharma also mean to respect womanhood, respect the integrity and sanctity of a marriage? How is it that Yudhishthira is hailed as a supreme son then? Didn’t he misuse and twist his mother’s words to meet his own terms?

The Vices of Gambling Addiction

Isn’t Dharma all about letting go of the vices and embracing virtues? Then this vile addiction of Gambling was not a step towards Adharma? Yes, Shakuni cheated. But was Yudhishthira not wrong to quit when he could? What kind of Dharmaraj was he that he kept on losing his all possessions, and not only had he lost all the possessions of his brothers as well? Were the brothers’ belongings his as well?  Didn’t he knowingly and deliberately threw his wives to the vultures just to fulfill his gambling habits? Was his wife his belonging, a possession? If that is the case, then why didn’t he gamble away his second wife Devika- who belonged only to him? Why Draupadi? Because she was a shared wife?

The Great Kurukshetra war

When Yudhishthira uttered the words that Ashwathhama died to Dronacharya, wasn’t that not exactly a truth- but twisted half-truth? And isn’t half-truth much more vile that a lie? Didn’t he betray the trust of his Guru who had the firm belief that Yudhishthira would never ever utter a lie? And wasn’t this half-truth the result of his desires to win? Where was his Dharma then?

And what about allowing a young boy to penetrate the Chakravyuh? That also when the boy’s father was not present? Was that again not his desire to win at any cost- may that life he is throwing away belong to his brothers’ young son who is newly married and who is soon going to be a father? Why couldn’t he have entered the Chakravyuh himself and be forever known as the valiant warrior? Was it because he was scared of death?

 

 Sources

http://jayadiscussions.blogspot.in/2013/04/yudhisthira-righteous-really-part-2.html

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July 23, 2014

Hindu Mythology: The Wives & Children World Did Not Know About (Mahabharata- Pandavas)

The Pandavas, acknowledged as the brave and just sons of Pandu, were fathered by Devas- Dharma (The God of Justice & Truth), Pawan (God of Wind), Indra (The king of Devas) and the divine twins Ashwini Kumars. Thus came on earth Pandavas, born of five devas and Kunti and Madri, queen consorts of Pandu- Yudhishthira, Bheema, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahdeva.

The World knows and revers Draupadi, the shared wife of five Pandavas. The world knows and loves Subhadra, the sister of Lord Krishna, wife of Arjuna. The world somewhat acknowledges Hidimbi, the Asura princess and wife of Bheema. The world doesn’t know that there were many other wives. The World respects and sings praises for Abhimanyu, The son of Subhadra and Arjuna. The world admires Ghatotkacha, the Asura son of Hidimbi and Bheema. The world doesn’t know that there were other sons… So here are the stories of the other wives- not of Draupadi, not of Subhadra, but the other wives…. So here are the stories of the other sons- not of Abhimanyu, not of Ghatotkacha, but the other sons….

BHEEMA: Hidimbi & Ghatotkacha

When Kauravas, the first cousins of Pandavas, tried to incinerate them and Kunti alive, the Pandavas escaped into the jungle in disguise of orphaned sons of a Brahmin widow. In the forest resided Rakshasas – Hidimba, Bakul and Hidimba’s sister Hidimbi. The Rakshasas Hidimba, enticed by human smell, and filled with desire to consume human meat, asked Hidimbi to take the form of a beautiful woman and lure the human to him. However on approaching Pandavas, Hidimbi fell in love with Bheema and revealed her true self and of the danger of Hidimba. Bheema easily killed Baka and Hidimba. However he refused to do anything with Hidimbi, who approached Kunti and said that she is all alone due to Bheema therefore it is his duty to marry her. Bheema acquiesced on the condition that once Hidimbi bore a child; he would leave her and go away. Within a year, Ghatotkacha was born who was a great sorcerer and was given a boon by Krishna that his sorcery would be unmatched and almost parallel to that of only Krishna. Ghatotkacha played a major role in annihilating the Army of Kauravas during the great war of Mahabharata.

BHEEMA: Naga woman & Bilalsen/Barbareek

There is a legend… folklore in some parts of Rajasthan, and Orissa, that Bheema was married once before he met Hidimbi. Bheema was the strongest of Pandavas and extremely hot tempered at that, not to mention mischievous. He used to play practical jokes on the Kaurava brothers; he used to engage in wrestling bouts where he out-powered them with extreme ease. This irked Duryodhana and he decided to do away with Bheema. Bheema, known for his love for food, was lured to the river bank of Ganga and was offered poisoned food. Thereafter he was drowned in the flowing Ganges. Thankfully The Naga king Vasuki was present and he saved Bheema, and gifted him the strength of thousand elephants. As per the legend, and there is no reference to it in Mahabharata or such, It was not Vasuki, but Ahuka, the Naga, who saved Bheema and took him to serpentine realm and gifted him a Naga woman. The union brought forth a son called Bilalsen or Barbareek. In some variants, Barbareek was the son of the Ghatotkacha, and thus grandson of Bheema.  Barbareek was convinced by Krishna to not participate in the war as he had promised his mother that he would help the weaker side and thus would keep oscillating between Kauravas and Pandavas and ultimately annihilate the entire armies from the both sides. There is a separate story revolving around great Barbareek, which I will tell later on, some other time….

BHEEMA: Other wives

Bheema also had another wife Valandhara, the daughter of the king of Kasi, begat upon her a son named Sarvaga. Chedi king Sisupala’s sister also was wedded to Bheema.

ARJUNA: Ulupi & Aravan

The story goes that Arjuna once entered Draupadi’s chamber while she was with Yudhishthira. To atone for this trespassing, he went on a ‘pilgrimage’. During this time he married many women. One of them was Ulupi.

Ulupi was the Serpentine Princess who became infatuated with Arjuna and abducted him and had him conveyed to the realms of netherworld. There she reasoned with Arjuna to take her as his wife and Arjuna consented to the Union. However the condition was that once he went away from her, he would not remember (this condition is a variant in many folklores). Thus after spending a night Arjuna went his own way. Ulupi gave birth to Iravan or Aravan. Ulupi also played a major role as a friend of Chitrangada, other wife of Arjuna, and was an important part of Arjuna and Chitrangada’s son, Babruvahana. She also restored Arjuna’s life after Babruvahana slayed him- Arjuna’s short death was the fulfillment of curse by Bhishma’s brothers, Vasus after Bhishma was killed in the Kurukshetra war; she redeemed Arjuna from the curse. Ulupi had also granted Arjuna with invincible powers while in water.

There is a legend from the oral traditions of Tamilnadu about Iravan (Also mentioned in the first book of Mahabharata, Adi Parva and sixth book, the Bhishma Parva). The Battle of Kurukshetra was evenly matched and there was akashvaani that Pandavas would have to please the Goddess of War with human sacrifice. There were only three men worthy of sacrifice- Krishna, Arjun & Iravan. Since both Krishna and Arjuna were indispensable to the victory of the Pandavas, Iravan was selected for the sacrifice. He agreed on the condition that he wanted to get married before being sacrificed- he wanted to be not forgotten, to be mourned by someone, to be missed by someone. But no one would give his daughter to a dying man. Finally Krishna too the form of Mohini and spent the night with him and at dawn when Iravan was sacrifices, Mohini mourned his death as no one would ever mourn for their deceased husbands.  

ARJUNA: Chitrangada & Babruvahana

Arjuna travelled the length and breadth of India during his term of above mentioned exile.  Arjuna visited other Tirthas in India, including Kalinga and the ashrams of Saptarishis, Agasatya, Vashishtha, and Bhrigu. Finally he reached the palace of Manipur. In Manipur he met the daughter of King Chitravahana’s, Chitrangada. It was love at first sight and requested the hands of Chitrangada from her father in marriage. King readily agreed but put forward a condition- since Chitrangada was his oldest child and Manipur practiced equal primogeniture, the king sought a promise from Arjuna that Chitrangada and any of her and Arjuna’s children would remain in Manipur as Chitravahana’s heirs. Arjuna agreed, and later spent time in the palace until the birth of his son, Babruvahana

Babruvahana did not participate in the Kurukshetra war and during Ashwamegha Yajna, slayed Arjuna, unaware of the fact that Arjuna was his father. Ulupi revived Arjuna with her powers. And the son and father reunited.

Other Wives & Children of Pandavas

Yudhishthira’s other wife was Devika, the daughter of Govasana of the Saivya tribe, who bore him a son named Yaudheya.

The Pandavas spent some of their exile at Chedi. Nakula later married Karenumati, the daughter of the Chedi King, who bore him a son, Niramitra.

Sahdeva obtained Vijaya, the daughter of Dyutimat, the king of Madra and his maternal uncle, brother of Madri, and begat upon her a son named Suhotra.

All these wives lived with their sons in the house of their fathers.

In the classical Sanskrit retelling, Arjuna married the Naga Ulupi, the princess Chitrangada of Manipur and finally Krishna’s sister Subhadra during this pilgrimage. But in Tamil retellings of the Mahabharata, he married totally seven women. One of them was a warrior woman called Ali who refused to marry him but Arjuna was so besotted that he sought Krishna’s help. Krishna turned him into a snake and he slipped into Ali’s bed at night and frightened her to become his wife. Some say he forced her to be his wife as he managed to spend the night in bed with her in the form of a snake. This illicit folktale alludes to Pisacha-vivah, or the marriage that is condemned in the Puranas.

 

Upapandavas (Draupadi’s children with the Pandavas)

Yudhishthira: Prativindhya

During the Kurukshetra war, Prativindhya, the oldest of the Upapandavas, is (estimated) 24 years of age. He killed Karna’s son Chitrasena on the fifteenth day of the battle. Presumably, he was the crown prince.

Bheema: Sutasoma

Sutasoma was the third oldest, and fought and won over Shakuni during the war. He was also instrumental in holding off Drona and Ashwathhama during the course of the 15th day.

Arjuna: Shrutakirti

Shrutakirti was fourth son and was also involved in the fight against Ashwatthama as well as Dushasana.

Nakula: Shatanika

Shatanika is the second oldest of the Upapandavas. He was an upa-senapati of the Pandavas army during the war.

Sahadeva: Shrutakarma

Shrutakarma was the youngest of the Upapandavas, He was defeated by Shakuni, but in turn killed Dushasana’ s son as well as Shala the brother of Bhurshravasa.

All the Upapandavas actually survived the 18 days of war. On the night of the 18th day, during the victory celebrations, they were killed when Ashwatthama set fire to their camp while Kripa and Kritavarma manned the entrances/exits to the camp mowing down any escapees. In most versions, Ashwatthama confuses the Upapandavas to be the Pandavas themselves, because of their likeness to their fathers.

Sources:

http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Bhima.html

http://pvravi.blogspot.in/2013/12/the-pandavas-their-matrimonial.html

http://devdutt.com/articles/mahabharata/2-of-5-the-other-wives.html

Wikipedia

Hindu Mythology: Why do Babies Suck Thumb

In Mahabharata there is a reference to King Mandhata, the child of the Golden Age.  There is an interesting story about how he was born.

There was a king, King Yuvanshva of Ikshvaku Clan. He had several wives and concubines but sadly he was not blessed with a child. He requested the sages to prepare magical nectar which would enable his wives to bear his children. The sages invited him to the Ashram, after travelling many days the king reached the ashram. He was weak due to thirst and hunger and upon reaching the ashram he saw a pot of water and drank it, unaware that the water was actually the magic potion created for his wives by the sages. He ended up being pregnant and upon the completion of gestation period he experienced labor pain.

Due to lack of female organs, there was no way he could give birth to the baby. He invoked The Ashwini Kumars- the divine physicians. They cut open his thighs and Yuvanshva gave birth to Mandhata. Now the problem arose of nursing the child as the king was incapable of breastfeeding. Indra, the king of Devas, came to his rescue. The Deva King, cut open his thumb and out flew the milk, as in the veins of Devas flow milk and not blood as unlike humans. The infant Mandhata sucked on to the thumb and sought comfort. That is why babies suck on to their thumbs as it is considered in Hindu Mythology and Legends that babies, until they understand and speak human languages, are  reflections of Gods and hence their thumb has milk.

The King Mandhata was called as one who belonged to the Golden Age, as he was born of a man; his midwives were divine physicians and his wet-nurse was the King of Devas.

Reference: The Story of Mandhata was retold in Mahabharata twice. In genealogical lists of Puranas, Mandhata was ancestor of Rama- both belonging to Ikshvaku clan.

special thanks to Devdatta Patnaik’s Shikhandi.

January 3, 2012

“Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”

This is the “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish” address delivered by Steve Jobs in 2005 at Stanford University:

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky – I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation – the Macintosh – a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me – I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

July 5, 2011

Few Anecdotes from Hindu Mythology- 2

Once again, my fingers are itching to scribble something (and i am in office, so far no work on my desk and having the privilege of internet, sans facebook/twitter, gives me an access to cure this itching!!) And what should I write about?? I was thinking more on the lines of fantastical, and amazingly wonderful Hindu mythology- the store house of numerous stories and wonderful tales… So once again, today I will tell you few chosen stories from mythology!!! Before I start, let me clarify- I have read these here and there, I do not have the authority to authenticate these tidbits but you have to agree that the stories are wonderful!!!

Well now that my rambling preamble is over, let me tell you about Lord Tirupati. Tirupati temple which is in Andhra Pradesh on a hill called Tirumalai (‘malai’ means hill) is considered very rich temple. It is said that before the foundation for this temple was laid, a Shri Yantram was kept. Shri Yantram is a yantra, a device which brings honor, wealth and prosperity to the one who keeps it and worships it, Shri denotes Lakshmi or the goddess of wealth and prosperity. This is the reason, they say, that the temple is so well endowed with prosperity and is constantly showered with offerings from devotees. However there is a story behind it. It is said that one morning, Lord Vishnu traveled to earth from his Baikunth Lok and the first place he landed was beautiful Tirumalai, there he was welcomed by the King and his daughter, Padmavati. The princess was nymph of ethereal beauty, her skin glowed with an aura of piousness and her eyes were as lit as fire balls, yet compassionate. Padmavati’s upward tilted chin gave a look of arrogance and it suited her. All the jewels she adorned were not necessary, he beauty was enough to entice any mortal and immortal. Her body was lithe and full. The lord lost his heart at the site of the princess and asked the King of Tiru Hills for her hands, however the princess was a haughty one after all, and she had conditions. She wanted ‘dowry’ from Lord Vishnu. This condition signified that the Lord will have to bring all is possessions from his abode, Baikunth Lok. He didn’t like the idea but his heart was too much involved in Padmavati, he agreed and went back to his home to his existing wife Lakshmi. Well you can imagine that Godless of Wealth was enraged to hear the news, she loved him and did not want to share him. But Vishnu was adamant and then he did the unforgivable, he begged Lakshmi to provide him with wealth and money required for dowry. Needless to that blindly angered Lakshmi gave Vishnu what he wanted but with her own condition, that the money she is giving him is actually a loan and unless each and every pie is paid back, Vishnu and Padmavati will not welcomed in Baikuntham. Poor Vishnu, he went back to Tirumalai, now he had to be a Ghar Jamai till he pays back his wife’s money. So as soon as he married Padmavati, he requested his devotees all over world to help him pay back the loan, and hence the temple gets so much offering in terms of money, jewels and grans!!

Now I will give another anecdotal incidence about Indra- this one is quite interesting!!!

There was a Daitya who was born of a Brahmin, his name was Vrtrasura and the sages and saints of the earth reuested Indra to kill this Daitya but Indra was hesitant, Vrtrasura was arfter all a Brahmin and killing him would inflict Brahm Hatya on him, greatest of sin. The sages promised to chant certain Mantam to help nullify the effect of the sin. And Indra had the moral duty to help the sages who were tormented by this monster Vrtrasura. So he agreed. And after a viscous battle, Indra killed him. As soon as Indra killed Vrtrasura, he could sense that the chanting of the Mantram was not as effective as it should have been and was devastated. he approached all the Lords- Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha and asked for their help. They divided the sin of Indra in four parts and distributed it to Women, Earth, Water and Trees. Would you believe it, that the menstruation of Women folk, the sap in trees are the sins of Indra!!! I forgot how the remaining sins were apportioned however! 😦

Do tell me if you like the stories!!! I will post more!!!!

April 28, 2011

Two And A Half Men

boy!!! You have to love these two and half men!!!

Alan- Because of the way you live your life, bad things have to happen to you to even things out.
Charlie- Well, I don’t agree.
Alan- It’s not up for debate! It’s a law, like gravity!
Charlie- I agree with gravity.
Alan- Oh yeah, no one would ever want you falling off the planet with nothing to hump but satellites!

Charlie Harper: [Trying to seduce Alan like he would a lady, so Alan would agree to have dinner] So where do you wanna go, baby?
Alan Harper: That’s, er, that’s very funny.
Charlie Harper: No, no, no. Let’s get something hot in you and then get something “hot” in you.
Alan Harper: Knock it off!
Charlie Harper: Gee, you smell good!
Alan Harper: You know what? OK, OK, I’ll just stay here and have a popsicle.
Charlie Harper: Oh, you’ll be getting the popsicle!
Alan Harper: Fine, fine! You pick the restaurant.

Alan- Charlie, I think your girlfriend tried to put a curse on me.
Charlie- O, Alan, who in the world hasn’t tried to do that?

Alan Harper: Do you know the problem with sushi?
Charlie Harper: Besides eating it with you?
Alan Harper: It’s all fleshy and flappy and wet. Feels unnatural against my tongue.
Charlie Harper: Hey, Al?
Alan Harper: What?
Charlie Harper: I think I know why your marriages didn’t work out.

Alan: (wondering where Jake is) I hope he didn’t wander under the bleachers during lunch hour.
Charlie: Ah, he’s smarter than that.
Alan: Smart? Charlie, he only got out of 6th grade because he couldn’t fit in the desks anymore.

Charlie Harper: So what’s your plan? Where are you headed?
Jake Harper: I’m gonna stay here.
Charlie Harper: Oh, you can’t stay here.
Jake Harper: Why not?
Charlie Harper: Because your’e running away. “Away”, according to the dictionary, means “not here”. It’s usually preceded by the words “Far far”, or in your case “Go”.

Gordon: God, I love your life.
Charlie: Thanks, but it’s really not as fun as it looks.
Gordon: Really?
Charlie: Nah, I’m kidding! Cheers to me!

Charlie: I remember your high school friend Jamie Eckleberry. We used to call her Eckleberry Hound.
Alan: You used to call her that.
Charlie: I didn’t name her that. I just spread it around. Hey, be sure to keep her off the rug.
Alan: Very funny. You know she’s very successful in her field.
Charlie: Oh, how nice. She has a field to run around in!
Alan: This is getting old.
Charlie: In people or dog years? Look, I’ll be nice. I’ll say hello… then scratch behind her ears.
Alan: Are you done yet?
Charlie: I hope she looks fetching. OK, now I’m done.
[There’s a knock at the door. Jamie enters, wearing a curve hugging dress and showing off lots of cleavage]
Charlie: [with his mouth hanging open] Woof!

Alan: You have five grand in your sweatpants?
Charlie: I prefer to think of it as “three hookers and a Philly cheesesteak.”

Alan: What happens if her husband catches you?
Charlie: Then he shoots me and you can have my house and car.
Alan: Go to her, Charlie. She’s waiting!

April 13, 2011

Few Anecdotes from Hindu Mythology.

Today I feel like writing, however I dont know what should I write!!! I thought and I thought… And I raked my mind… I thought of this topic… and that topic… none suited! And I realized! Why, Mamta!! You silly silly girl! You love Hindu Mythology, why not some anecdotes from the same!!! So her it is!! Some tiny stories about Hindu Mythology!

You all must be knowing that characters of Ramayana – Vali and Sugreev were brothers, half brothers to be exact! Its is said that Their fathers were Indra, the King of the Gods and Surya, the Sun God respectively. It is said that Aruna, the Charioteer of Surya was bored of his monotonous life and was eager to have a break. Someone told him that the nymphs in the Indra’s palace were the most beautiful ones and since then it was his intention to and visit the palace of Indra, but then he was a lowly charioteer! Who would allow him to enter the gates of Indra’s court! He was saddened. And bored. Did I say that already! Anyways, one day he got an idea, he might be down the ladder but he certainly had few powers! He meditated one evening and changed into a beautiful lass and went to Indra’s Durbar and hidden in a corner he saw the Apsaras dancing and in his heightened happiness forgot that he is supposed to remain hidden and Indra saw him. Indra did not see Aruna, he saw a beautiful girl and he beckoned her. Aruna went silently to Indra and since he could not reveal who he is, he remained silent and let Indra have his way with ‘her’. By the time Aruna left Indra’s place, it was already too late and Surya was angry with Aruna for neglecting his reponsibilities and rebuked him. Aruna stood their with his head hung and in shame. He told Surya his story of what happened in Indra’s Palace. Surya was intrigued and in his curiosity wanted to see how Aruna would look like if he were a girl and ordered the charioteer to take the form of the same nymph as of the last night! And as you can imagine, poor Aruna had to satisfy his master too. The consequence was birth of Vali and Sugreev.

Another story which I am narrating is about Lord Hanuman. My favourite! As we know Hanuman had taken a vow of celibacy. But do you know he had a son? No, he did not violate his celibacy. Wait, let me tell you the story.

It is said that After Lanka Dahen, Hanuman jumped off into the sea to cool himself and in the process a drop of his perspiration fell into the mouth of a fish, a huge fish. That drop made that fish pregnant and gave birth to Makardhwaj, who was later on made king of nether world after Hanuman rescued Rama and Lakshmana from Ahi Ravan and conquered the nether world and gifted it to makardhwaj.

There is a legend which says That Hanuman was married. The story goes like this-

Surya’s wife Sanjana, daughter of Vishwakarma could not bear the heat of Surya and hence her father offered to rub off a little of the heat and that heat took form of a beautiful young gilr who was named Suvarchala. She was so beautiful! Everyone wanted to marry her, but her luminescence would not allow anyone to touch her or to go near her. Hanuman was the disciple of Surya. And Lord Brahma thought that since Hanuman is the only one who can remain near Surya without getting scorched that mean he alone can handle Suvarchala. Surya asked Hanuman for gurudakshina and asked him to marry Suvarchala. Hanuman was in dilemma, he had already taken the vow, how could he marry. He put forward his thought towards his master. Surya told him patiently that since Suvarchala was not conceived due to carnal activity and was a divine creation, Hanuma’s vow would not be tested and Hanuman was given a boon that even after marriage he will remain celibate. So they were married.

I understand that the above story can be quite controversial one, however I would like to mention that this incidence in mentioned in Parasar Samhita and is not a fruit of my imagination. Parasar Samhita is an astrological compilation of incidents from our Hindu Mythology by the great Rishi Parashar.

If you enjoyed above stories, do tell me, I will put up more!! 🙂

April 4, 2011

A Beautiful Story

I read this story a long long time back; years ago. I don’t even remember the author. The story was in Hindi. And I don’t remember much, I just remember the gist. I will try to present this story in my own way, since I don’t remember the characters’ names; I am using my own way here… Bless me.

There was a rumor (or was it a rumor?), that the village graveyard had a unique scent to it since last week, as if someone has put incense stick which was divine. The source of the fragrance??? No one knows, they just know that it was her grave which had this pious feel to it.

So much so was the effect of the scent that slowly and slowly, the whole village seemed to be washed in that scent. The Trees were scented, so was the fruits; the fragrance of the flowers were lost and instead these buds also had this divine scent, the rotis which amma cooked, and the sevai– everything smelled like that. And when wives swept the floor and their chunni’s slipped by, their bodies had that beautiful fragrance. The water in the Village well had that fragrant, and that laughter of the girls had that sweet essence as well. And when mothers hugged their babies, there was no baby smell- instead there was that redolence… Not a single person, not a single object retained their own fragrance, they were now one- the scent of that grave united them.

Days passed by and the fragrance increased in intensity. They wondered what her husband; Nadeem has to say about the whole scenario. And Nadeem’s soul was tortured over the happenings. He was sick, high with fever and lying on his cot, oscillating between past and present. His mind took him 21 years back when he first saw her; she was an angel, a fairy- so beautiful. And so many handsome people courted her. He, being of ordinary looks knew that he has no chances. His bhabhi saw him staring at her and asked if he would like to marry that girl, she is a relation only, two cousins removed. Nadeem was skeptical; he said that a girl so beautiful can never be a good wife. She will be flocked by the guys and she might be tempted to have an extramarital affair. But his sister-in-law and mother knew that his heart was set on her and they knew that the girl was virtuous. And with-in a fortnight Nadeem was wedded to her.

Was he lucky or was he lucky, the girl devoted her everything to Nadeem. Nadeem became her God, her Khuda, once she entered his home, she never bared even her nails to another man; she dedicated her being to him. Such selfless love, such unconditional love. And he was not even a good looking man. They said that she had a fault. She was Baanjh, barren. She could not bear him a child. Her mother-in-law said that her beauty, her virtue is of no use, she is fruitless. She never talked back, never retorted.

And after a journey of 21 years, she left him; she finally left that dull life she had. And she departed to the Home of God. She died peacefully in her sleep. And since then, Nadeem was never himself. He could not bear her death and was sick now all the time. Today, he was missing more so.

Syed came to meet Nadeem, he was curious as to what was the reason that Nadeem’s wife’s grave was so fragrant. He was not the only one curious. Whole village was. Syed was there to tell him that Village elders have decided to go to the root of the situation and with required permissions and authority they are going to dig her grave. Nadeem was out of his mind, how dare they disturb his beloved!!! He ran past Syed to protect her resting place, but by that time, it was too late. People were standing around the open, dug grave and some wiping tears, some praising Allah, some simply in shock- looking at what was inside. She lay as peacefully in the cradle of earth, as if she was a princess having her beauty sleep. One month ago she was buried, but there was no tell tale sign of that, she was 42 at the time of her death and she looked 18 in her grave. Wonder of wonders!! A most exquisite, most beautiful flower was sprouting from her mouth. And that was the source of the divine scent. People, apologized to Nadeem and to the departed one, covered back her grave and one by one left the graveyard. Nadeem who was shell-shocked remained their and remained there. And suddenly he broke down and wept and wept. The inhuman howl which he let out, forced Syed to run back to him, who held him and consoled him.

Once Nadeem was calm enough, he told Syed, that his wife was Goddess and Allah wanted her to be acknowledged as such and that’s why this divine intervention. As Nadeem said, “You see, she was with me for 21 years, and she was most beautiful one, she could have had anyone she wanted. But she remained with me, she never cursed her life, she never did raise her voice, she never strayed, she never complained. Syed, I was born impotent and remained so throughout her life and will remain so throughout my life”

March 20, 2011

Letter to a daughter

(I read a letter to a daughter by a mother in a Chhatisgarh daily, it was beautiful, here I present a modified version of that letter, I have added my feelings, my imaginations and my words here and there, I have tried to infuse what i would feel when i would have my own child to take care of and love, do forgive me for any mistake)

Dear Daughter,

I have always wanted a girl child, and then Lord Jagannath endowed me with you. A delicate, tiny beautiful child. He was extremely generous with me and I am obliged to pay my debts Eternally to him, he gave me more than a daughter, he gave me love personified, he proved that he exists- where there was not a slim or a fat chance of mine ever getting pregnant, and now I have you to declare to the world that see my devotion and my faith won over the super science of yours! Now that I look at your face, sleeping peacefully and with calm confidence that your mother is here to protect you, i feel a sense of pride in myself for harboring a life as precious as yours in my womb, of bringing you to this world as a new ray of hope. My darling angel, as I see your 6 months fingers curled around my thumb, I know that you wont be reading this letter for a long long time to come, nevertheless I have this urge to write to you, to convey to you what I feeling as of now, at this very moment. So the apple of my eyes, here is my letter to you…

Beti, the world has pearls of wisdoms to impart, and I also have a few advises for you, you may feel rebellious, may be defiance against these advises, all i want from you to be level headed while thinking over these advises. People say that mothers have an uncanny intuition about the whereabouts and well-being of their children, believe me that I will always know you better than you could ever know yourself- that does not mean, however, that I will always be right and I wont make mistakes. And also remember that I will also know when you will make mistakes and when you will lie- but being a mother I will forgive you- just like that. I will give you a tight slap for your mistakes, will make you stand for hours in a corner and will ground you- but I will also smother you with my bear hugs and kisses and chocolate shakes and oatmeal cookies. You know my child, I always remember the time I would fight with my Ma, I would call her rudest of names, say most hurtful things, and she would weep at my actions, I remember how repentant I used to be later on but it was a rare case I would ask for forgiveness… She would just say, “you will realize when you will have your own children”. How true, how very true. No, I dont believe in ‘tough love‘, If I scold you or if I am stern or If I act harsh, its just because I love you so much, and I want you never to stray from your path! I know we will have contradictions, difference of opinions, fights, disagreements, but its a vicious cycle- you will know when you have your own child.

My baby, dont let anyone in this world hurt you, dont give anyone the authority, the right to ever hurt you. Because they can do it, only if you permit them. You may encounter nasty, unwanted situations at some or the other corner of the road of life, dont let yourself caught unawares, dont let yourself compromise with that situation, be strong enough to face it, to fight it- after all you are my little tigress!!! But at the same time, my darling, be gentle and delicate enough so you never lose the beauty of your girlhood and later on your womanhood, of your softness. Be bold enough to ask questions, however stupid they mey seem and be meek enough to accept defeat. Smile. Read books. Respect Nature. Have integrity. I dont know what kind of human being you will turn out to be tomorrow, make sure that you are generous, forgiving, and sans jealousy.

No body is burdening you with future expectations, its your world, its open to you, look into nook and corners and make your own decisions, stumble, fall- I will be there to help you get up, I will dust you down and sooth your scraps. But make your own decisions. Follow your heart and whenever in doubt, think of Lord Jagannath and take a leap of faith. Things will always fall in place. Protect your heart and hand it over to the worthiest of man out there. Let your inner satisfaction be your guide. remember sadness and disappointments will as much be a part of your life as smiles and happiness, learn to balance.

Never forget that I and your father will be there for you. Always.

Love and blessings,
Ma

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